Intelligent Design

The Tragic Plight of a Good, Moral Atheist

Spread the love

I would bet my bottom dollar that most atheists active on or reading this site are very moral, good people. In fact, I would bet that rvb8, Pindi and seversky are better (morally speaking) people than I am. I would further make a bet that part of the very reason they embrace atheism is because they consider the type of “god” they have had exposure to in church or in their community would be, if it actually existed according to what they’ve been exposed to as far as religious teachings, an absurdly evil being not worthy of belief, much less worship. I would agree with them on this point – the god I perceived being taught to me in Sunday School was a ridiculously bad god and I rightfully rejected that concept of god as such.

The problem I had for many years, though, was being unable to separate my particular, childishly-developed concept of god from the idea that this concept represented all theistic thought or even all Christian thought. Although I’m not a Christian, I’ve come to realize that the concept of god that I developed in my mind as a child (whether or not it was accurate wrt what was being preached on Sunday) doesn’t even closely resemble the Christian God concept represented by Lewis or Augustine and other more sophisticated Christian philosophers. My atheistic bias against theism was based entirely upon a childishly ignorant conceptualization of what the term “god” meant.

As far as my own personal beliefs are concerned, rvb8, Pindi and seversky are probably just fine wrt their afterlife prospects (and their relationship with god) even given their atheism. In my view, atheism is no barrier to moving on to the afterlife. It will just be a little bit more of a surprise for them than some others. So, it’s not like I’m trying to save anyone from going to hell – I don’t even believe in hell (as a eternity of suffering). Others here may disagree with me on this, but I’m just letting them know I personally bear them no ill will nor do I consider them to be bad or even doomed people. They’re probably in better spiritual shape than I, even given their atheistic materialism.

Having been a very devout, analytical atheistic materialist, I speak from some experience. I asked myself repeatedly as an atheist, why bother trying to be good? What does it even mean to be “good”? What purpose does it serve? Under atheistic materialism, being good had no ultimate or inescapable intrinsic value; all “being good” could possibly achieve was some personal, temporary, subjective end. Help you to fit in and succeed in society, or make and keep friends, or make you feel better about yourself. Maybe one could even think that one is contributing to some social system that would ultimately benefit them or their children.

Unfortunately, there is no guarantee in life that behaving in a way that feels good (morally speaking) will achieve anything one wants at all other than the immediate (and ultimately, illusory) physical sensation of “having done something good”. I say illusory, because everything that would occur in an actual atheistic, materialist world would all be driven by the same physico-chemical forces and they would result in whatever feelings one’s particular chemistry happened to produce. One could be Jeffrey Dahmer and feel like they were doing good. And, it would be exactly the same value of feeling as the feeling one gets when helping out a person in need; there is no higher-order judgement on the mindless effects of chemistry. It just produces what it produces.

This is the tragic nature of the good, moral atheist; they want their good acts to be somehow more real or better than an act a religious fanatic considers and feels is good, but alas, under the logical ramifications of atheistic materialism, their good acts would be the factual, physico-chemical equivalents of Jihadis who felt they were doing good by driving planes into buildings. There is no source distinction between any act anyone does. In fact, there’s no distinction between a good or evil act – they would all be relentlessly generated by chemistry and physics, as would be our perception and evaluation of those events.  Calling one act good and one act evil would be categorically the same kind of evaluation as calling the shape of one leaf good and the shape of another evil. It would be a ridiculous, meaningless distinction.

So, in an actual atheistic/materialist world, what does being good achieve? Nothing. Being good or evil doesn’t change chemistry and physics one bit. What you see in the world is the world physics and chemistry produces. There is no “better” world to strive for, no utopia or better society waiting at some point in the future because chemistry and physics is not going to change in the future towards some delusional, imagined better end. Chemistry and physics are not conspiring to try and generate a kinder, more loving, more gentle, more fair human being in order to establish a future Shangri-La, and we have no power over chemistry and physics to try and generate that outcome; all of that is part of the illusion of conscious self-determination under atheistic materialism.

What a tragic plight that would be for hypothetical biological automatons; acting and thinking however matter commands but living in a delusion of self and free will as if you have a choice and as if what you do is “good” in some meaningful sense, or that it matters wrt the relentless ongoing cause-and-effect process of chemistry and physics; as if you could somehow change the course of matter from your state of internal delusion when in fact you cannot. All you can do is what it tells you; all you can think or feel or believe is what it tells you; “you” have no power over it (chemistry and physics) at all.

This logical ramification of atheism is what ultimately led to my decision to not be an atheist any more – not evidence, not fact, not even reasoned argument that atheistic materialism was irrational (I discovered that much later). No, I wanted and needed to be able to be a good person, and for that “goodness” to matter and to mean something more than the illusory self-satisfaction which is all atheistic materialism could offer. There is simply no way for the concept of good to be anything other than part of a matter-driven illusion without a god of some sort and without free will.

To Pindi, seversky and rvb8: that doesn’t mean the choice is between atheistic materialism and an unacceptable, ridiculous, evil, childish notion of god and spiritual existence. However, it is a choice between able to be good in a way that actually means something and actually matters, and only experiencing a sensation of being good whenever some particular chemical interaction dictates it and which ultimately doesn’t matter or change anything one bit.

And here’s the kicker: if atheistic materialism is true, there’s no reason not to believe in a good god worth believing in, and no reason not to believe in a good that really matters and in a free will which can make those choices, because there is no penalty for believing those things even if they are false. After all, in a hypothetical atheistic/materialist world, it’s not like you’re going to score extra points when you die for having happened to believe true things during your life.

60 Replies to “The Tragic Plight of a Good, Moral Atheist

  1. 1

    The only good thing about Pindi, seversky, and rvb8 coming to this site is that they regularly get exposed to the good counsel of bornagain77, kairosfocus, and Barry Arrington (to name just a few).

  2. 2
    harry says:

    … atheistic materialism was irrational (I discovered that much later). No, I wanted and needed to be able to be a good person, and for that “goodness” to matter and to mean something more than the illusory self-satisfaction which is all atheistic materialism could offer.

    Regardless of what we want or need, atheistic materialism was, is and will remain irrational. Rationality demands that we acknowledge that there is some sort of a Supreme Being that is the Author of time, space, matter, energy and life. I will omit going over the reasons for this being the case here; they have already been articulated many times and in many ways on this web site.

    The necessary existence of a Supreme Being raises some questions. “Just what is the nature of this Supreme Being?” Is He “absurdly evil”? Or maybe a being who launched the Universe and is not all that interested in our behavior one way or the other? Does He intervene in history on our behalf? Is He a good being Who is interested in us and our well being? There is no way for us to know the true nature of the Supreme Being or the meaning and destiny of created humanity unless He reveals them to us. If He does that, and we truly have a free will then we can choose something besides what He intended for us.

    So, the question then becomes “Has the Supreme Being revealed His nature to humanity, and the meaning of our lives, and the destiny He intends for us?” If He has endowed us with true rationality that is not illusory and a genuine free will, then we should be able to ascertain His revelation and choose whether or not to live according to it.

    There is no natural explanation for literature written over millennia that prophesied the eventual arrival of an exceptional person having those prophecies fulfilled so perfectly in one human being. The fulfillment of prophecies written centuries and even millennia earlier demands of the rational mind the conclusion that the ultimate Author of such literature had to be a being Who existed outside of time and Whose knowledge and providence was perfect.

    It is up to each of us to decide whether Christianity’s wild claim that the necessarily existing Supreme Being revealed to us His nature ( “God is love”) and His intentions for us in the miraculously foretold person of Jesus. There is no excuse for not looking into it. I would suggest reading the Early Church Fathers who convinced those who were to achieve their true destiny of Christ’s divinity with demonstrations of His fulfillment of the ancient Hebrew Scriptures.

    A final thought: You can’t draw your conclusions about the nature of God from the Old Testament alone (a trap many atheists get caught in). The Old Testament can only be understood in the light of the New Testament. Augustine put it this way:

    The New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New.

  3. 3
    DillyGill says:

    Interesting stuff. I have often thought of the problem raised by ‘not knowing’ Jesus. My own personal conclusion is that we are all (atheists too) under a covenant with God going right back to Adam and Eve, should you not fall under a later one by mutual agreement. That covenant being to live by your conscience (the knowledge of good and evil) and to go forth and multiply as well as ‘produce fruit’ (of a spiritual nature). When Jesus said ‘no one comes to the father except through me’ I have often wondered if he is saying that his is like a bouncer on the gates of heaven (your names not down, your not coming in)

    The big problem with living under that covenant alone as I understand it and from my own experience is that the conscience is easily seared by pride/ justification and/or underlying motives, intentions vs actions and resentment. It happens with out me even noticing and is especially hard to detect if I have no standard of moral inventory taking outside of my own thinking.

    Further the problem does not seem to be that these particular people believe what they believe (atheists posting on this site), the problem is that scientism (trading under the name of science) is always being passed off as an absolute truth. Now to those that study such things and know the weaknesses of their arguments this is fine however for most the population who do not have the time or inclination to study this then it is really quite dangerous as an idea (promoted the way it is). Sceintism or evolutionism has merely become a tool to sear the conscience and having everyone doing ‘what is right in their own eyes’ which always ends in tears.
    The other thing I want to mention is that regardless of who you think or what you think God is I have found it helpful to always consider the world and its contents as the property of God and as the author of life God owns the patent on life. Translating that into modern ideas like an artists right to royalties if his work is used… then Gods royalties are praise and rightly owed.

    One more thing, if there really is an afterlife that is better than this one for those that seek the truth or do good then that changes everything. There is a song and the lyrics go ‘Jesus and his lawyers are coming back’ The idea that justice can be done as fair and true given all the complexities of life seems a big ask however I do believe that their will be an accounting and whilst those that push hard on the atheist front might indeed only be rebelling against a childish notion of what God might have been to them, there is something about the idea of materialism and those that promote it so strongly where culpability may apply at judgement (especially given how obvious it is that life is designed once you study it as a search for the truth), like the guy who sold the murderer the gun and told him where to find the victim these atheists may find themselves responsible for the effects of the ideas they have pushed so hard. (never forgetting religion and the religious will be held to account as well)

    I do think we are living in a conspiracy. The conspiracy is to keep our spiritual significance hidden from as many people as possible.

  4. 4
    daveS says:

    I would further make a bet that part of the very reason they embrace atheism is because they consider the type of “god” they have had exposure to in church or in their community would be, if it actually existed according to what they’ve been exposed to as far as religious teachings, an absurdly evil being not worthy of belief, much less worship.

    I’m eager to hear what rv8, Pindi, and Seversky have to say about this.

    It doesn’t have much if anything to do with my reasons for embracing atheism (if that means simply believing there likely is no god).

    The Christian God that I have learned about in church certainly does not seem to be “evil”, although the pastors I’ve heard spend almost all of their time on the New Testament and not a great deal on the parts of the bible which people find more difficult or troubling.

    In any case, my opinion on whether God is good or evil has no bearing on whether He actually exists, as far as I can tell.

  5. 5
    Pindi says:

    Hi DaveS,

    In my case I never really had exposure to a god. I never went to church and didn’t really know people that did (except to the occasional funeral or Christmas service). I grew up without any feelings about God, positive or negative.

  6. 6
    rvb8 says:

    What an incredibly large number of words to say, ‘atheists have no reason to be good, and theists do.’

    I actually never really think about doing or being good, my parents did that for me, and as I bacame an adult I made the connection that doing good usually gets a better result than doing bad. And as an individual who is not insane, I chose the route that ‘usually’ produced the best results.

    Also, I discovered that dropping God as an idea really improved my morality, as the horrendous guilt I felt at my occasional failings paralized functionality. We all lie (sorry), we all cheat (in vaious ways), and we all steal (in various ways). Realising that this is the human condition lifted an enormous burden of guilt. BTW, I don’t lie, steel, and cheat as much as I did when a child, very little of the last two, but I can’t seem to shrug off the lying; that’s honest.

    And one question; when can we expect the next purely scientific post, as opposed to phylosophical odservations? Or do I have to continue visiting Pandas, Coyne, NASA, Science Daily, and others for that?

  7. 7
    tarmaras says:

    @rvb8

    ‘atheists have no reason to be good, and theists do.’

    Speaking “purely scientifically” and not in “philosophical observations”, there are no atheists, there is no reason, there is no good and there are no theists. The world is simply primary properties like length, mass, charge or momentum – the foundational cornerstone of modern empiricism.

    If you even presume to talk about “good” and “bad” you have to accept the existence of a judgement. In order for judgements to actually exist, you need meanings to exist. Then, the ability to perceive meanings implies to define perception as perceived through the 5 senses. But that’s not how empiricism does it – instead, empirical science deals only with primary properties (length, mass, charge, momentum etc, which are basically measured against objective (as in objects) standards – other masses, lengths, charges etc). Properties such as color, smell, sight, hearing are just “secondary properties” derived from the primary ones and not taken seriously in empirical science. Thus the world that appears to us as color, taste and smell is just an appearance, an illusion. IN REALITY, the world is mass, charge, length and momentum.

    This means that people, guns and bullets do not actually exist as “people”, “guns” and “bullets”. These are only illusory forms of what, in actuality, we can define as particular combinations of mass, charge, length and momentum. There is no actual meaning to “He shot three bullets into the girl” and there certainly cannot be a judgement of the intention of a shooter that doesn’t actually exist as a “shooter”. There’s no guilt of such a shooter, and we can’t really talk about the “morality” of the shooter’s action. IN REALITY, there’s only mass, lengths and charges interacting with other masses and lengths and charges, according to the laws of nature (which are also defined as some kind of properties). Of course, we can talk about the illusory shooter, the illusory gun, the illusory bullets, the illusory girl, the illusory death, the illusory guilt and the illusory morality or immorality of it all. But that’s not scientific. That’s just the convention for the non-sophisticated, unscientific mind. So, allow me to bring some of your comments up to speed, according to modern scientific empiricism:

    “Also, I discovered that dropping an illusory God as an illusory idea really improved my illusory morality, as the illusorily horrendous illusory guilt that an illusory I had the illusion of feeling at its occasional illusory failings paralized functionality. (The illusory) we all have the illusion of lying (sorry), we all have the illusion of cheating (in vaious ways), and we all have the illusion of stealing (in various ways). Illusorily realising that this is the illusory human condition lifted an enormous burden of illusory guilt. BTW, the illusion of I doesn’t illusorily lie, steel, and cheat as much as the illusion of I did when an illusory child, very little of the last two, but the illusory I can’t seem to shrug off the illusion of lying; that’s an illusion called honesty.”

  8. 8
    daveS says:

    Pindi,

    Thanks, that sounds similar to my experience growing up.

  9. 9

    rvb8 7:
    Take a look at this report on design principles and baseball:
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....03156.html

    And more baseball here:
    https://ayearningforpublius.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/darwin-and-baseball/

    Science, baseball and the Design inference — uncluttered with Darwinian nonsense.

  10. 10
    groovamos says:

    rvb8 : … purely scientific post, as opposed to phylosophical odservations?

    Real simple answer: “science”, which is to say the hegemonic scientific community, is an echo chamber of scientific materialism which is the handmaiden of philosophical materialism. James Tour (top ten citations of all chemists on the planet) has indicated that there are plenty of people in the scientific community who have confided in him their own abandonment of materialism, asking him to keep it confidential.

    What we discuss here is the abuse of science. We oppose the self-anointed priesthood of high science looking down upon the plebeians as ignoramuses, needing guidance on how to think about the world. And we do this by exposing their thinking about the world which is dreadfully false in the most important aspects. The universe is just not built for their self-appointed philosophical role, and no universe could ever be.

    To conclude, we also love to make jokes about scientists, infected with their own socially corrosive philosophy, holding court on the formal study of philosophy itself, declaring it useless.

    Or do I have to continue visiting Pandas, Coyne, NASA, Science Daily, and others for that?

    Well you keep coming here anyway, and it seems maybe you don’t know why. I’m not criticizing this in you, because what is unconscious to you can be an impetus for spiritual movement forward, even more so when it becomes conscious.

    My apologies though on behalf of people here who have been less than polite. But the abuse I have received on materialist websites I think is worse, being called ass____e, d__k, you name it. It always happens when I challenge them to describe a likely scenario for the advent of an irreducibly complex system which I lay out for them e.g. the respiratory epithelium and its function.

  11. 11
    HeKS says:

    groovamos @11

    My apologies though on behalf of people here who have been less than polite. But the abuse I have received on materialist websites I think is worse, being called ass____e, d__k, you name it. It always happens when I challenge them to describe a likely scenario for the advent of an irreducibly complex system which I lay out for them e.g. the respiratory epithelium and its function.

    Yes, it’s true. Even the worst treatment that the atheists get from a few people here (which I don’t agree with) utterly pales in comparison to the treatment that theists get from atheists everywhere else on the internet. For example, I was watching a YouTube video the other day in which a former agnostic or atheist said that he used to be a fan of Christopher Hitchens and the other New Atheists but ultimately realized they didn’t have good arguments against God or for atheism. One of the commenters complained about the comment, saying Christopher Hitchens was brilliant. I responded by saying that on the matter of God and religion Hitchens was a windbag who made poor arguments and appealed to emotionalism. Some other atheist responded by calling me a “butthurt christfag” and then a “faggot”. That, in my experience, is the norm around most of the internet, and often time it’s even worse.

  12. 12
    rvb8 says:

    HeKS calls Hitchens a ‘windbag who made poor arguments and appealed to emotionalism.’ Hmm, if you replaced ‘Hitchens’ with a few posters here, he may be right.
    But insults aside, Hitchens was a very successful author who simply made the undeniable point that, if he said and wrote what he said and wrote, a mere fity years ago, and in any liberal democracy, (let alone a Muslim theocracy) he would have been pilloried. The loss of the ability to arbitrarily punish anyone at will has been removed from Christianity, and I get the feeling that that smarts, and is a sore point, no one likes to lose power.
    The condescension in the title of this post, is similsr to the angst displayed in the ‘Miserable’ post. The idea that atheism is indeed being discussed and becoming in some way normal makes the religious say silly things.

    Ham believes Christians are under assault, the usual crew at the ‘700 Club’ expect the barbarians at the gates any day soon. Where does this fear come from?

    Hitchens, Dawkins, Coyne etc aren’t asking for the destruction of Christian America, they are asking for the Constitution to be enforced. This means no public money going to religious organisations (except for the tax break scam). And no public displays; you know like the President being sworn in with his hand on the Bible, and removing the God bit in the otherwise fine Pledge, and removing ‘In God We Trust’, on your money, plain weird.

    No one wants to pull down the churches, or enforce atheism. What we want is for individuals to be left alone to make their own decisions, provided they are over 18, and sane. Apparently the religious think this is an attack on freedom; do they even understand the concept of ‘freedom’? It means not having to bow down before an all powerful master; sound familiar?

  13. 13

    Rvb8,

    “What we want is for individuals to be left alone to make their own decisions, provided they are over 18, and sane. Apparently the religious think this is an attack on freedom; do they even understand the concept of ‘freedom’? It means not having to bow down before an all powerful master; sound familiar?”

    What we want is for individuals to be left alone to follow their own consciences.

    Only we see the all powerful master who wants to get in the way of our freedom to follow our conscience, as unhindered government, not God, who compels us by His character, not by His might.

    Materialism leads necessarily to secular tyranny if unchecked. History shows this to be true.

  14. 14
    HeKS says:

    rvb8 @13

    Your obsession with assigning emotional and psychological motivations to people seems to border on the pathological. You return to this well so consistently that I can only think you must need to believe that theism results purely from fear and other emotional considerations, in spite of all evidence to contrary.

    The loss of the ability to arbitrarily punish anyone at will has been removed from Christianity, and I get the feeling that that smarts, and is a sore point, no one likes to lose power.

    Are you attributing this sentiment to me? If so, that’s pretty hilarious, because I’m a Christian who thinks that Christianity should not be in bed with politics or seek secular power and authority to any degree. So it is in no way a sore point for me that religious institutions have less secular pull than they once did. A soft secularism in society is just what the Bible ordered. The problem is when society turns to a hard secularism. When that happens the results are consistently deaths measured in the millions or tens of millions.

    The idea that atheism is indeed being discussed and becoming in some way normal makes the religious say silly things.

    Yet again, this has nothing to do with me. I have no problem with the fact that it is becoming more widely discussed. It has forced some otherwise complacent theists to think more seriously about the basis of their belief, which I think is always a positive. It has also given those who have thought seriously about it more of an opportunity to demonstrate how intellectually bankrupt and irrational an atheistic materialist worldview is at its very foundations. The only downside to the increase in talk about atheism is the poor quality of the discussion that has been brought about by the anti-intellectualism of the New Atheists and the fact that their popularity has spawned a generation of philosophical simpletons posing as intellectuals on the internet while making arguments so bad you have to wonder whether they’re drooling onto their keyboards or are simply too busy high-fiving to bother trying to understand the issues they’re discussing.

    What we want is for individuals to be left alone to make their own decisions, provided they are over 18, and sane. Apparently the religious think this is an attack on freedom

    Ummm, no. Everyone should be perfectly free to make up their own minds about whether they are going to believe in and worship God. To the extent that any Christian group has tried to enforce belief on anyone they have acted in a way that is inconsistent with the Christian message.

  15. 15
    rvb8 says:

    Perhaps my arguments are simplistic, but that doesn’t make them wrong.

    I’ve read ‘Mere Christianity’, or rather I struggled with his painfully fatuous arguments like this pile;

    “Yet this is what Jesus did. He told people that their sins were forgiven, and never waited to consult all the other people whom their sins had undoubtedly injured. He unhesitatingly behaved as if He were the party chiefly concerned, the person chiefly offended in all offenses.”

    This is the person every Evangelical I know is constantly hiping? Hitchens may not be your cup of tea, but he did have a sense of humour. BTW, later in Lewis’s life, Tolkien also grew weary of his sanctominy, and I certainly know which of these two was the better tale teller.

    There is of course, in Lewis, the assumption that Jesus was a real person, but I’ll pass over that obvious bias. I find it offensive that I don’t have to take responsibility for my actions, and faults and can pass them onto a stranger. And yet that is the core of Christianity.

  16. 16
    HeKS says:

    rvb8,

    Perhaps my arguments are simplistic, but that doesn’t make them wrong.

    Actually, it kinda does mean that … almost by definition. If your arguments against a position are simplistic then they are necessarily inaccurate and amount to attacking a strawman, so it’s hard to see how they could be right. Perhaps you just meant “simple” rather than “simplistic”.

    I’ve read ‘Mere Christianity’, or rather I struggled with his painfully fatuous arguments

    I have no particular thoughts about Lewis one way or the other, except that I agree with you in preferring Tolkien’s tales. Also, I’m not an Evangelical.

    There is of course, in Lewis, the assumption that Jesus was a real person, but I’ll pass over that obvious bias.

    LOL. If Lewis was biased in believing that Jesus was a real person, so is every serious historian working today, whether believer, atheist or agnostic. There is no controversy among legitimate scholars that Jesus was a real person, whatever else one happens to believe about him. Those who assert his non-existence as an historical person are considered quacks, and the one or two who might be considered semi-legitimate in a general context are not taken seriously on this issue and have a pattern of immediately rolling back their claims and backpedaling whenever challenged by other scholars.

    I find it offensive that I don’t have to take responsibility for my actions, and faults and can pass them onto a stranger. And yet that is the core of Christianity.

    And this sums up Hitchens’ piece-de-resistance attack on Christianity, the supposedly most evil and poisonous teaching of Jesus. It also so happens that Hitchens completely and utterly misrepresents and mangles the Biblical Christian view on this issue. Of course, that doesn’t stop his clueless fans from running around repeating his false and slanderous claims. But hey, that’s what happens when people turn to an agenda-driven atheist to learn about Christianity: they walk away from the experience more ignorant than when they started.

  17. 17
    Origenes says:

    rvb8 (quoting Hitchens): “Yet this is what Jesus did. He told people that their sins were forgiven, and never waited to consult all the other people whom their sins had undoubtedly injured. He unhesitatingly behaved as if He were the party chiefly concerned, the person chiefly offended in all offenses.”

    Did Jesus say that he spoke in the name of the offended party? When he said “I forgive you”, did he claim that the offended party also forgave the sinner?
    I hold that Hitchens conflates two separate acts.
    If someone forgives a person who has sinned against him/her this doesn’t mean that God will necessarily forgive the offender. Nor does it follow that God will not forgive a person who has offended his family member or neighbor just because the offended party refuses to pardon their transgressor or debtor.

  18. 18
    rvb8 says:

    Origenes I’m quoting Lewis, the above quote is from ‘Mere’.
    And did Jesus not claim to take on the sins of men? I’m sorry if I got that piece of theology wrong, but I don’t think so; ask BA.
    Lewis then concludes this famous quote with ‘mere assertion’:
    “This makes sense only if He really is the God whose laws are broken and whose love is wounded in every sin.’

    I apologize for the confusion, when I’m quoting Hitch I’ll say so, when I quote Lewis, likewise. I’m pretty sure I did. By the way were you trying to refute Lewis here?

    HeKS I believe there was a Jesus like person at that time and place, but it was also a time of huge religious upheaval, sects andnew sects splintering, and prophets left right and centre.

    As to simple answers by definition being wrong. I beg to differ, a simple answer, as Occam championed, is far more useful than pretencious ramblings.

  19. 19
    Origenes says:

    rvb8 @19,

    I apologize for my poor reading skills. Incorrectly assuming that I was reading a quote from Hitchens I thought I spotted a critique that wasn’t there.
    Again, sorry, I was completely mistaken about context.

  20. 20
    kairosfocus says:

    RVB8, I think you and other atheists of your ilk need to stop and pause and ask, are we setting up a strawman caricature bogeyman of theism, and are we then using this as a focus for anger that stabilises an otherwise indefensibly self referentially incoherent and fundamentally amoral evolutionary materialistic scientism? Are we then riding piggy-back on what we despise and would overthrow, refusing to learn from the past 100+ years what has consistently resulted from what happens when our ideologies are actually put in place on the ground? Can we pass the test of what we have to say and do about the 800+ million unborn slaughtered across the past generation under false colours of law, choice and even so-called reproductive rights? Have we got a problem where mass blood guilt has benumbed consciences, blinded minds and corrupted institutions, leading our civilisation increasingly on a march of folly down a road of ruin? KF

  21. 21
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: RVB8 et al would do well to acquaint themselves with the actual core moral teachings of the Christian Faith, from the most famous sermon in history, spoken by the founder of that tradition — here from a responsible translation of a prime source document, something that would take only a few minutes to read:

    _______________

    >>Matthew 5 English Standard Version (ESV)

    The Sermon on the Mount

    5 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
    The Beatitudes

    2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

    3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

    5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

    6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

    7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

    8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

    9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons[a] of God.

    10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

    Salt and Light

    13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

    14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[b] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

    [–> A framework that plainly points out the possibility of failing to live up to one’s commitments, and a call to instead fulfill. This challenge has echoed down the past 2000 years again and again.]

    Christ Came to Fulfill the Law

    17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

    Anger

    21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother[c] will be liable to judgment; whoever insults[d] his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell[e] of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26 Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.[f]

    [–> Over the years, i/l/o too much experience to outline here, I have for cause come to the conclusion that evolutionary materialistic scientism as lab coat clad atheism is patently self referentially incoherent and utterly lacking in capacity to ground morality much less mind, but is EMOTIONALLY and SOCIALLY stabilised by personal and institutionalised rage against God and those who acknowledge him, often pretending to great erudition and moral superiority by way of a one sided litany of the real and imagined sins of Christendom. The folly involved in such a stance is patent, save to those who have blinded themselves. Cf here on: http://iose-gen.blogspot.com/2.....ml#is_oght RVB8, in your case it is fair and justified comment to note that for many weeks now you have consistently refused to engage the world-roots level issues and questions on one rhetorical excuse or another. ]

    Lust

    27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

    Divorce

    31 “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

    Oaths

    33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ 34 But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.[g]

    Retaliation

    38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic,[h] let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

    Love Your Enemies

    43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers,[i] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

    Footnotes:

    Matthew 5:9 Greek huioi; see Preface
    Matthew 5:16 Or house. 16Let your light so shine before others that
    Matthew 5:22 Some manuscripts insert without cause
    Matthew 5:22 Greek says Raca to (a term of abuse)
    Matthew 5:22 Greek Gehenna; also verses 29, 30
    Matthew 5:26 Greek kodrantes, Roman copper coin (Latin quadrans) worth about 1/64 of a denarius (which was a day’s wage for a laborer)
    Matthew 5:37 Or the evil one
    Matthew 5:40 Greek chiton, a long garment worn under the cloak next to the skin
    Matthew 5:47 Or brothers and sisters. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, the plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) may refer either to brothers or to brothers and sisters

    English Standard Version (ESV)

    The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

    Matthew 6

    Matthew 6 English Standard Version (ESV)

    Giving to the Needy

    6 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

    2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

    The Lord’s Prayer

    5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

    7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this:

    “Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your name.[a]
    10
    Your kingdom come,
    your will be done,[b]
    on earth as it is in heaven.
    11
    Give us this day our daily bread,[c]
    12
    and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
    13
    And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.[d]

    14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

    Fasting

    16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

    Lay Up Treasures in Heaven

    19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust[e] destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

    22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

    [–> I think Jesus consciously echoed and countered Plato’s parable of the Cave here. The issue is, are we morally benumbed and intellectually blinded so that we confuse darkness for light and light for darkness? This highlights the central importance of sound and sober worldview level reflection to sort out the foundations of our thought.]

    24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.[f]

    Do Not Be Anxious

    25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[g] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

    34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

    Footnotes:

    Matthew 6:9 Or Let your name be kept holy, or Let your name be treated with reverence
    Matthew 6:10 Or Let your kingdom come, let your will be done
    Matthew 6:11 Or our bread for tomorrow
    Matthew 6:13 Or the evil one; some manuscripts add For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen
    Matthew 6:19 Or worm; also verse 20
    Matthew 6:24 Greek mammon, a Semitic word for money or possessions
    Matthew 6:27 Or a single cubit to his stature; a cubit was about 18 inches or 45 centimeters

    English Standard Version (ESV)

    The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

    Matthew 7

    Matthew 7 English Standard Version (ESV)

    Judging Others

    7 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

    6 “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.

    Ask, and It Will Be Given

    7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

    The Golden Rule

    12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

    13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy[a] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

    A Tree and Its Fruit

    15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

    I Never Knew You

    21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

    Build Your House on the Rock

    24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
    The Authority of Jesus

    28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.
    Footnotes:

    Matthew 7:13 Some manuscripts For the way is wide and easy

    English Standard Version (ESV)

    The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.>>
    _______________

    No fair reading of his could attribute the sins of Christendom to the teaching of its founder. (And cf here on for a 101 on that subject which has been so often used as a club to try to silence the voice of the Judaeo-Christian heritage of our civilisation, to see a better balanced view.)

    KF

    PS: RVB8, beyond this point, if you continue to project a loaded strawman caricature, it will reveal that you have not only already spoken from ignorance that refused to seek a true and fair view of what it objected to, but have done so in the teeth of a readily accessible and corrective presentation of the facts to the contrary. I suggest to you that you would be well advised to amend your ways.

  22. 22
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: Primary source documents of historical character do not “assume” the existence of principals, they RECORD AND REPORT that reality based on eyewitness testimony and documentation of same. RVB8, you would be well advised to ponder the introduction to Lk-Ac:

    Lk 1:1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, 2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, 3 it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught. [ESV]

    I suggest to you, at 101 level, you may find here on in context (nb discussion on Wm G Perry’s thought and its damaging influence) helpful, noting the video.

    KF

  23. 23
    kairosfocus says:

    Groov, 11:

    Real simple answer: “science”, which is to say the hegemonic scientific community, is an echo chamber of scientific materialism which is the handmaiden of philosophical materialism. James Tour (top ten citations of all chemists on the planet) has indicated that there are plenty of people in the scientific community who have confided in him their own abandonment of materialism, asking him to keep it confidential.

    What we discuss here is the abuse of science. We oppose the self-anointed priesthood of high science looking down upon the plebeians as ignoramuses, needing guidance on how to think about the world. And we do this by exposing their thinking about the world which is dreadfully false in the most important aspects. The universe is just not built for their self-appointed philosophical role, and no universe could ever be.

    To conclude, we also love to make jokes about scientists, infected with their own socially corrosive philosophy, holding court on the formal study of philosophy itself, declaring it useless.

    Points to ponder.

    KF

  24. 24
    bornagain77 says:

    rvb8, you find it incredible that Jesus claimed to be God?,,,

    “Yet this is what Jesus did. He told people that their sins were forgiven, and never waited to consult all the other people whom their sins had undoubtedly injured. He unhesitatingly behaved as if He were the party chiefly concerned, the person chiefly offended in all offenses.”,,,
    Lewis then concludes this famous quote with ‘mere assertion’:
    “This makes sense only if He really is the God whose laws are broken and whose love is wounded in every sin.’

    Lewis also stated this:

    “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
    C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

    And I admit that, like Lewis and everyone else, a man claiming to be God in the flesh would have to have some fairly impressive evidence backing that claim up. But impressive evidence is exactly what we have. Besides the historical evidence which HeKS alluded to, and which even leading atheistic scholars agree on (i.e. minimal facts, Gary Habermas), in the Shroud of Turin we also have physical evidence which, in spite of numerous attempts to falsify it, still resolutely testifies to the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The Shroud of Turin simply refuses to be falsified and in fact keeps revealing new secrets to us as our technology advances:

    Shroud of Turin: From discovery of Photographic Negative, to 3D Information, to Quantum Hologram
    https://youtu.be/F-TL4QOCiis

    Below is a summary of scientific and historical evidence supporting the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin as the ancient burial cloth of the historical Jesus of Nazareth.
    by J. Michael Fischer, adapted from the original article by John C. Iannone
    http://reasonandscience.heaven.....ght=shroud

    Scientists say Turin Shroud is supernatural – December 2011
    Excerpt: After years of work trying to replicate the colouring on the shroud, a similar image has been created by the scientists.
    However, they only managed the effect by scorching equivalent linen material with high-intensity ultra violet lasers, undermining the arguments of other research, they say, which claims the Turin Shroud is a medieval hoax.
    Such technology, say researchers from the National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (Enea), was far beyond the capability of medieval forgers, whom most experts have credited with making the famous relic.
    “The results show that a short and intense burst of UV directional radiation can colour a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin,” they said.
    And in case there was any doubt about the preternatural degree of energy needed to make such distinct marks, the Enea report spells it out: “This degree of power cannot be reproduced by any normal UV source built to date.”
    http://www.independent.co.uk/n.....79512.html

    Moreover, when the Agent causality of Theists, i.e. God, is rightly let ‘back’ into the picture of modern physics, as the Christian founders of modern science originally envisioned (Newton and Maxwell among others), and if God is allowed to ‘play the role of a person’ as Kurt Godel himself held to be possible, then an empirically backed unification between Quantum Theory and General Relativity is readily achieved by the resurrection of Christ from death:

    Resurrection of Jesus Christ as the Theory of Everything – Centrality Concerns – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uHST2uFPQY&list=PLtAP1KN7ahia8hmDlCYEKifQ8n65oNpQ5&index=4

    Special and General Relativity and The Resurrection of Jesus Christ as the “Theory of Everything” – video playlist
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLtAP1KN7ahia8hmDlCYEKifQ8n65oNpQ5

    Verse:

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

    Supplemental note:

    Christ’s unification of General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics
    Excerpt: The belief that there should even be a unification between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, (i.e. a mathematical theory of everything), does not follow from the math, but is a belief that is born out of Theistic presuppositions.
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Gb75eVQyt3wU0Pwcl5nes4N2axenxQKZa4pYxSSeGzk/edit

  25. 25
    Dionisio says:

    Origenes @20:

    I apologize for my poor reading skills. Incorrectly assuming that I was reading a quote from Hitchens I thought I spotted a critique that wasn’t there.
    Again, sorry, I was completely mistaken about context.

    We all make mistakes. I’m the leader in that category.

    But in this particular case, could you explain what exactly happened?
    I’m studying communication and this seems like an interesting illustration of quick non-analytical reading.
    It occurs more often in verbal than in written communication. Could you describe how it happened?
    Thank you.

  26. 26
    Andre says:

    RVB8

    Your ignorance knows no bounds, in regard to the supposed Tax scam, a recent study shows how religion contributes in a very healthy way to society and the economy….

    http://www.nationalreview.com/.....us-economy

    Here is the study

    http://www.religjournal.com/pdf/ijrr12003.pdf

    Now let me ask what exactly does the atheist movement contribute towards the economy and society as a whole?

  27. 27
    soundburger says:

    rv, HeKS took pains to explain to you, eloquently and convincingly, the difference between ‘simple’ and ‘simplistic’, and yet you chose to respond with “As to simple answers by definition being wrong. I beg to differ, a simple answer, as Occam championed, is far more useful than pretentious ramblings.”

    You don’t ‘beg’ to differ; you bend over backwards to differ.

  28. 28
    john_a_designer says:

    Why do we keep enabling interlocutors like rvb8? Over on a previous thread I wrote this:

    I think rvb8 is a classic example of an incorrigible cynic. I don’t see there is any way that you can deal honestly with such a person except keep pointing out his (her?) cynicism. The question is what is behind the cynicism? Is it anger, arrogance or something else? Over the past couple years I have intentionally tried to avoid engaging interlocutors like rvb8. Their so-called arguments are not really arguments but unsubstantiated canards and complaints. The sole purpose appears to be like quicksand: to suck you in and suck you down to their level.

    At some point it becomes foolish to engage the fools– does it not?

  29. 29
    HeKS says:

    rvb8 @19,

    Over in the In Fairness to the Materialists thread I commented that you showed “a consistent pattern of failing to carefully read what [you] respond to”. Here you’ve gone and shown this yet again.

    Consider our exchange:

    rvb8: Perhaps my arguments are simplistic, but that doesn’t make them wrong.

    HeKS: Actually, it kinda does mean that … almost by definition. If your arguments against a position are simplistic then they are necessarily inaccurate and amount to attacking a strawman, so it’s hard to see how they could be right. Perhaps you just meant “simple” rather than “simplistic”.

    rvb8: As to simple answers by definition being wrong. I beg to differ, a simple answer, as Occam championed, is far more useful than pretencious ramblings.

    So, you see, I even tried to charitably suggest that you might have meant “simple” rather than “simplisitic”, but then you came back and acted as though you’d said “simple” all along and then falsely applied my comments about simplistic answers to simple ones, completely distorting what I had said.

    This sort of thing happens with you all the time, rvb8. Do you think that maybe it’s time for you to start reading what other people say to you a little more carefully? If you’re just going to go around carelessly misconstruing the meaning of people’s comments and attacking things nobody has said then what exactly is the point of your participation in these discussions? If you actually care about truth and reason then you’re not doing yourself or anyone else any favors by continually misrepresenting what other people are saying. If, on the other hand, misrepresentation and obfuscation are at the core of your agenda then, well, mission accomplished.

  30. 30
    Heartlander says:

    From Tim Keller’s latest book – Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical

    …Russian philosopher Vladimir Solovyov sarcastically summarized the ethical reasoning of secular humanism like this: “Man descended from apes, therefore we must love one another.” The second clause does not follow from the first. If it was natural for the strong to eat the weak in the past, why aren’t people allowed to do it now? I am not, of course, arguing that we should not love one another. Rather, I’m saying that, given the secular view of the universe, the conclusion of love or social justice is no more logical than the conclusion to hate or destroy. These two sets of beliefs—in a thorough-going scientific materialism and in a liberal humanism—simply do not fit with one another. Each set of beliefs is evidence against the other.

    Many would call this a deeply incoherent view of the world. If the values of secular humanism cannot be inferred or deduced from a materialistic universe, then where did they come from?
    – P42

    Nietzsche’s point is this. If you say you don’t believe in God but you do believe in the rights of every person and the requirement to care for all the weak and the poor, then you are still holding on to Christian beliefs, whether you will admit it or not. Why, for example, should you look at love and aggression—both parts of life, both rooted in our human nature—and choose one as good and reject one as bad? They are both part of life. Where do you get a standard to do that? If there is no God or supernatural realm, it doesn’t exist.”

    … Even Nietzsche, however, cannot escape his own scalpel. He blasted secular liberals for being inconsistent and cowardly. He believed that calls for social bonding and benevolence for the poor and weak meant “herd-like uniformity, the ruin of the noble spirit, and the ascendency of the masses.” He wanted to turn from the “banal creed” of modern liberalism to the tragic, warrior culture (the “Ubermensch” or “Superman”) of ancient times. He believed the new “Man of the Future” would have the courage to look into the bleakness of a universe without God and take no religious consolation. He would have the “noble spirit” to be “superbly self-fashioning” and not beholden to anyone else’s imposed moral standards.

    All of these declarations by Nietzsche compose, of course, a profoundly moral narrative. Why is the “noble spirit” noble? Why is it good to be courageous, and who says so? Why is it bad to be inconsistent? Where did such moral values come from, and what right does Nietzsche have, by his own philosophy, to label one way of living noble or good and other ways bad? In short, he can’t stop doing what he tells everyone else to stop doing.

    – P47-49

  31. 31
    StephenB says:

    rvb8

    “Yet this is what Jesus did. He told people that their sins were forgiven, and never waited to consult all the other people whom their sins had undoubtedly injured. He unhesitatingly behaved as if He were the party chiefly concerned, the person chiefly offended in all offenses.”

    You are off and running with several false assumptions. “Chiefly” is not synonymous with” solely,” The one chiefly offended (God), who identifies and commiserates with his offended creatures, and whose moral laws have been broken, can forgive those who offend Him on condition that they repent and promise to do better. As God, He has the authority to do that.

    But that is not the whole story. The other offended party, the human, is also due some satisfaction. The offender is obliged to make reparation as much as possible. Indeed, Proverbs 6:31 dramatizes the point by saying a thief must pay back the stolen money sevenfold. For that matter, all offenses to one’s neighbor must be accounted for.

    Sometimes, because of the passage of time, the offender has no way of contacting or making reparation to the person he offended. Fortunately, God can step in and provide the forgiveness in His name and the name of the other offended party. Otherwise, the offender could never find relief for his conscience.

    But it doesn’t even end there. The offender also incurs future obligations: He must refrain from harming his neighbor at all, that is, he must love his neighbor as himself—even if his neighbor is an enemy. When you say, therefore, that Christianity exempts one from taking responsibility for his actions, you are talking nonsense.

    There is of course, in Lewis, the assumption that Jesus was a real person, but I’ll pass over that obvious bias.

    Bias? You doubt that Jesus was a real person? If you don’t accept the Gospels as historical narratives, I suggest that you consult with the Jewish and Roman historians, who testified the Jesus was a real person. By all means, don’t pass over that.

    I find it offensive that I don’t have to take responsibility for my actions, and faults and can pass them onto a stranger. And yet that is the core of Christianity.

    As I just indicated, you don’t understand Christianity (or Catholicism). Do you have any questions that I can help you with?

  32. 32

    Heartlander @32:

    Nice additions and on point!

    HeKS @30:

    I’m sure you’ve noticed that when you talk to some people, all they are doing is waiting for a chance to say what they’ve got to say. I think what Pindi, rvb8 and seversky (and others) represent here are committed atheists/materialists who want/need to express their atheism/materialism, especially to Christians, and often to express some sort of negativity on theists and Christians in particular. It’s clear they blame theists/religion/Christianity for something (in many cases, the world not being a prefect, natural utopia), and they’ve come here to express these internal motivations.

    The logic of the arguments and points made are lost on these particular individuals because, obviously, they offer no logical defense nor serve up a logically coherent system which can solve any of the conceptual issues raised (free will/responsibility/how we act, first cause, moral equivalence, etc).

    Their responses are best understood, IMO, as basically pre-packaged commentary triggered by certain keywords and phrases contained in our arguments, but which don’t usually address the actual concepts the arguments engage. For example, seversky often draws an equivalence between neessary logical conclusions and personal opinion, as if referring to the conclusion of a string of logical inferences from a proposition as “your opinion” relieves him of the need to offer up an alternative string of logical inferences that would come to a different conclusion.

    As if “Nuh-uh!” is sufficient rebuttal to a logical conclusion.

    rvb8, for example, studiously ignores all challenges to actually write and argue as if atheistic materialism is true, starting with why is he arguing at all with noises and markings that chemistry and physics just happen to produce? How can such effects of chemistry be “right” or “wrong”? What is the point? Why are you implying that we have the power to override the chemistry and physics of our brains and bodies and force it to accept some “true” or “factual” information or argument, when their ideology logically dictates that we have no such power?

    john_a_designer @29:

    We are enabling them to continue making posts which can be used to easily demonstrate the irrational nature of their viewpoints and allow opportunities to explain the rational power of theistic arguments and the practical value of theistic beliefs. For many people that may be reading and actually have an open mind on the subject, it can be very enlightening.

  33. 33

    I find it offensive that I don’t have to take responsibility for my actions, and faults and can pass them onto a stranger.

    Says the person who denies free will exists and asserts that brute physico-chemical causes dictate every action.

  34. 34
    bornagain77 says:

    William J Murray

    “Says the person who denies free will exists and asserts that brute physico-chemical causes dictate every action.”

    Indeed, what evidence for God could ever convince anyone who is willing to deny the witness of his own existence, i.e. the witness of his own ‘personhood’, and the witness of the existence his own free will, just so as to deny God?

    We are not dealing with rational people!

    Rationality and personhood are both willingly sacrificed on the alter of denying God any place in their lives.

    In other words, in refusing to have God in their life, they end up killing any notion of themselves as real people. i.e. They commit intellectual suicide!

  35. 35
    cmow says:

    HeKS @ 17 —

    I prefer Tolkien’s LOTR and Hobbit to the Narnia books, but I prefer Lewis’s Space Trilogy over LOTR. I read the trilogy for the first time last year and I’m still enamored by some of it’s allegorical truth. From others I have talked to, I seem to be in the minority, but… so be it.

  36. 36
    Pindi says:

    JAD@29,

    What do you think this site would be like if you had no one with opposing views commenting? At the moment it’s pretty much just me and rvb8 and the odd comment from seversky. The only debates you guys really have amongst yourselves are theological ones. Without us its just a bunch of people sitting around patting themselves on the backs about how they have everything worked out. Echo chambers become boring very quickly.

  37. 37
  38. 38
    rvb8 says:

    StephenB, Origenes made the same mistake and quickly and very gentlemanly, apologized, will you do the same?

    That quote is not me it’s Lewis from ‘Mere’.

    Also, I apologize for my poor use of, and conflation of ‘simple’ and ‘simplistic’. Simple answers are good, simplistic ones bad; agreed.

    I will however also say, evolution is a very simple (and beautiful) answer to life’s variety, and given the vast number of creation, (or designed) answers there are, we must view these as simplistic.

  39. 39
    kairosfocus says:

    RVB8, yes we know the creedal evolutionary materialitic faith declaration [and the imposition under false colours of methodological constraint], meanwhile we await actual observation that blind chance and mechanical necessity separately or jointly can and do create integrated functionally specific complex organisation and associated information, especially algorithmic information such as in the cell. Beyond the threshold 500 – 1,000 bits on the gamut of sol system or observed cosmos:10^57 to 10^80 atoms or so, 13.8 BY or so, fast chem rxn rates ~ 10^-12 – 14s (with the slower organic rxns being most relevant). Meanwhile we will hold confidently to the analysis and trillion member observational basis that leads to the conclusion that such FSCO/I is reliably the product and a credible sign of intelligently directed configuration — aka design — as cause. KF

    PS: Meanwhile we continue to observe refusal to address the evident self referential incoherence and undermining of the credibility of mind in evolutionary materialistic scientism. Which issue remains pivotal whatever the state of play on rhetoric or socio-cultural agendas, agit-prop and what-not.

    PPS: FTR, Christian theology is, for good reason, quite clear that sin in the first and chief case is an offence against our Creator and Lord, which requires his forgiveness first and foremost. Sins against other people in significant part are offences against the image of God in those people which is the basis on which they have value to exert moral claims such as rights. (And here, you are piggybacking on rights without providing a proper evolutionary materialistic foundation for morality, which you cannot.) Thereafter, yes restoration of relationships at human level is necessary, but the latter is not as opposed to the former. Indeed, it is the integrated process of repentance- and- renewal that then fosters reformation- and- transformation of community to the good.

  40. 40
    asauber says:

    rvb8,

    Correction:

    “evolution is a very simple (and wrong) answer to life’s variety”

    You’re welcome.

    Andrew

  41. 41

    rvb8 has admitted he is not a scientist, but feels comfortable in stating:

    I will however also say, evolution is a very simple (and beautiful) answer to life’s variety, and given the vast number of creation, (or designed) answers there are, we must view these as simplistic.

    How is “evolution” a “very simple” answer? How is “god did it” any less simple than “chance did it”? Are there fewer “chance” answers than “design” answers available?

    And what makes “evolution did it” a “beautiful” answer? Are we peeking at rvb8’s emotional commitment to a materialist answer? Given the same outcome, how would the beauty of evolution not also translate into beauty of design?

    Given that the primary attribute of any “answer” must be an actual capacity to provide sufficient cause for the variety of life we see all around us, and given that rvb8 has no expertise by which to assess the validity of evolutionary claims(either scientifically or logically), his sense that evolution can explain, is simple, and is “beautiful” can only be due to an ideological predisposition to respond to a materialist explanation in that manner.

    It certainly isn’t due to scientific knowledge or a rational appreciation of the explanatory principles.

  42. 42
    Cabal says:

    IMHO, evolution, not chance is the obvious answer. Mutations are a fact of life that we’ll have to live with. There is nothing in the world that says advantageous mutations cannot happen. If and when one happens, it may be passed down to the next generation and what is the mechanism that prevents it from increasing in frequency within the population?

    That’s what’s implicit in the term “differential allelic reproduction”. I am in the habit of googling relevant terms whenever I find disagreement between science and critics. Sometimes I find the arguments from critics not very convincing.

    “ideological predisposition” is not reserved for any particular grouping in this debate, anyone is potentially susceptible to ideological predisposition. I therefore cannot exclude thinking that ID proponents also may be influenced by similar attitudes.

    Googling, I found so much more written on the subject of this thread that I recommend interested parties to take a closer look at the scientfic sources. How can disagreement on scientific issues be resolved without consulting the sources? Has the subject been thoroughly researched in any ID laboratory?

  43. 43
    asauber says:

    IMHO, evolution, not chance is the obvious answer.

    Cabal,

    I humbly submit there is nothing ‘obvious’ about ‘evolution’.

    I suspect you don’t even have a scientific definition of ‘evolution’ stored in your mind. I bet if you have any kind of definition at all of ‘evolution’ that can be recalled, it’s more poetry than science.

    So what is it you think of when you see the word ‘evolution’?

    Andrew

  44. 44
    john_a_designer says:

    Pindi @ 38,

    This site and the internet in general would be better with fewer internet trolls.

  45. 45
    Cabal says:

    Asauber, I think I can answer your question. I trust science. I believe that is a more reliable attitude than putting all your money on ancient myths. There are interesting things to be derived from the myths, but in my opinion, Christendom has lost the key to unlocking the true meaning of the myths. Fundamentalism won the war and the victors wrote the history.

    Church fathers complained about the Gnostics but in the end they managed to get rid of them. To the loss of all of us.

    Esoteric wisdom, but it isn’t lost, it just is not vogue right now.

    I’ve spent a lifetime – am 86 now, on the study of religions and science and have it all worked out. But I do not proselytize. If they prefer literal interpretation instead of understandig the hidden message it’s okay wih me. It’s their loss. Jesus spoke in parables, have his words (presuming there actually ever existed a genuine, historical Jesus) been decoded into plain language?

    I read the message as: follow me, take up your cross, and carry it to Calvary, die with me and rise as a Christ. Like St. Paul who wrote a lot about just that. Strage that the Gnsotics claimed Pauls as one of their own teachers! I’ve always been intrigued by the obvious mysticism found in his writings.

    It should not be too difficult to see throught the veil and discover the mysticism lurking under the surface of the letters of scripture.

    Religion is about life in the here and now – that’s the “eternal” life. The symbols of death and resurrection should not be interpreted in a literal manner; they are symbols for you to integrate into your life. We are gods, but we don’t know it.

  46. 46
    asauber says:

    I think I can answer your question.

    Cabal,

    You’ve completely avoided answering it, so far.

    Andrew

  47. 47
    rvb8 says:

    Kai, WJM, and others;
    this will be my last post on this topic.

    Could you please get StephenB to do the Christian thing and apologize for not knowing Lewis. After my well known Lewis quote StephenB said;

    ‘You are off and running with several false assumptions.’

    ‘You’, ‘You’, ‘You’? Not ME! Lewis! As in Clive Staples Lewis. Apparently this good Christian, StephenB has run away, and refuses to apologize for his poor understanding. Also he attacked the bad theology of Lewis (which should outrage you, but kind of makes me chuckle).

    Where is your outrage that a follower so poorly understands your position that he is willing to attempt to malign Lewis?

    StephenB, do what that decent chap Origenes did, and apologize to me for not understanding the quote, or who it came from. Anything less puts atheists as your ‘moral’ superiors.

  48. 48
    kairosfocus says:

    RVB8:

    You have clearly set up and knocked over a strawman target, failing to address what SB actually addressed:

    >>rvb8

    [Citing Lewis, to dismiss without serious consideration:] “Yet this is what Jesus did. He told people that their sins were forgiven, and never waited to consult all the other people whom their sins had undoubtedly injured. He unhesitatingly behaved as if He were
    the party chiefly concerned, the person chiefly offended in all offenses.”

    [SB:] You are off and running with several false assumptions. “Chiefly” is not synonymous with” solely,” The one chiefly offended (God), who identifies and commiserates with his offended creatures, and whose moral laws have been broken, can forgive those who offend Him on condition that they repent and promise to do better. As God, He has the authority to do that. >>

    1 –> This responds to you at 16, trying to discredit C S Lewis:

    This is the person every Evangelical I know is constantly hiping? Hitchens may not be your cup of tea, but he did have a sense of humour. BTW, later in Lewis’s life, Tolkien also grew weary of his sanctominy, and I certainly know which of these two was the better tale teller.

    There is of course, in Lewis, the assumption that Jesus was a real person, but I’ll pass over that obvious bias. I find it offensive that I don’t have to take responsibility for my actions, and faults and can pass them onto a stranger. And yet that is the core of Christianity.

    2 –> C S Lewis (given his well earned reputation that endures 50+ years after his death, demonstrated in ever so many ways) is not on trial, you are.

    3 –> That you are suggesting it is a biased assumption to accept the historical reality of Jesus itself speaks volumes on your failure to address the overwhelming evidence and of the discrediting degree of anti-Christian prejudice on your part which then tries to turnabout and project the problem.

    4 –> Your sneer at Lewis is meant to dismiss CSL’s point without addressing merits. SB provides corrective context (and so do others including me).

    5 –> It is fair comment to note that instead of correcting your own attitude, you have projected a strawman caricature.

    6 –> I speak further FTR, as it is plain that you tried above to embroil others in your attempt to pounce on your strawman SB.

    7 –> Rightly, SB highlights that the FIRST offended party in the case of willful breach of the moral law written in our hearts is its Author, our Creator who has made us in his image as responsible, rational, significantly free creatures tasked to jointly work with him in the truth and the right. He continues:

    >> [SB:] But that is not the whole story. The other offended party, the
    human, is also due some satisfaction. The offender is obliged to make
    reparation as much as possible. Indeed, Proverbs 6:31 dramatizes the
    point by saying a thief must pay back the stolen money sevenfold. For
    that matter, all offenses to one’s neighbor must be accounted for.>>

    8 –> SB here addresses the issue of harm to fellow man. Specifically as a point of balance. And well done too.

    >>Sometimes, because of the passage of time, the offender has no way
    of contacting or making reparation to the person he offended.
    Fortunately, God can step in and provide the forgiveness in His name
    and the name of the other offended party. Otherwise, the offender could
    never find relief for his conscience.

    But it doesn’t even end there. The offender also incurs future
    obligations: He must refrain from harming his neighbor at all, that is,
    he must love his neighbor as himself—even if his neighbor is an enemy.
    When you say, therefore, that Christianity exempts one from taking
    responsibility for his actions, you are talking nonsense. >>

    9 –> More good stuff by SB, as opposed to your strawman caricature.

    10 –> SB cites you again, and rightly corrects an outrageous example of selective hyperskepticism on history:

    >> [RVB8:]
    There is of course, in Lewis, the assumption that Jesus was a real
    person, but I’ll pass over that obvious bias.

    [SB] Bias? You doubt that Jesus was a real person? If you don’t accept
    the Gospels as historical narratives, I suggest that you consult with
    the Jewish and Roman historians, who testified the Jesus was a real
    person. By all means, don’t pass over that. >>

    11 –> This point is pivotal, you clearly have not done your homework in general, nor are you familiar with Lewis’ actual argument across the corpus of his work.

    12 –> No sensible reasonably informed person should seriously doubt Jesus of Nazareth as a figure of C1 history to the point of trying to dismiss Lewis as making a biased assumption in regarding Jesus as a figure of history. That you do so is telling, and not in your favour.

    13 –> And, on Jesus’ claims, Lewis brings out the literary point on a myth as archetypal story-line then puts the point: here, myth became fact. Where, the facts on the table for that historical figure credibly reported in biographical works that ring of truth, the choice is Lord, liar or poached egg level lunatic.

    14 –> While many attempts have been made to deride this, it is still valid given the wider context of established evidence.

    15 –> SB cites you further, and responds in brief:

    >> [RVB8:] I find it offensive that I don’t have to take responsibility for my actions, and faults and can pass them onto a stranger. And yet that is the core of Christianity.

    As I just indicated, you don’t understand Christianity (or Catholicism). Do you have any questions that I can help you with?>>

    16 –> You have again erected an outrageously distorted strawman that seeks to exploit the widespread ignorance of what Christian discipleship requires in highly secularised quarters.

    17 –> The first step of discipleship is repentance, which requires acknowledging guilt and just condemnation for willful wrongdoing as a morally responsible individual who has chosen to walk in the known wrong.

    18 –> But now, on the gracious mercy of messiah, one turns from sin to service and positive transformation as a vessel fit for service.

    19 –> This is the very opposite of the irresponsibility you project. Where you are too educated to not know that one should not make grave accusations or dismissals without having done one’s homework to get facts straight.

    20 –> In addition, it remains that on evolutionary materialism you cannot ground a coherent responsible self, moral principles, or responsible rational freedom — as has come out in thread after thread for many weeks now.

    21 –> It therefore seems that the shoe is on the other foot.

    KF

  49. 49
    Vy says:

    I trust science.

    Strange.

    I believe that is a more reliable attitude than putting all your money on ancient myths.

    And yet you believe the ancient myth of evolution. “It’s a creationist site” is not an excuse

    There are interesting things to be derived from the myths

    Evodelusion is more pitiable than educative.

    but in my opinion, Christendom has lost the key to unlocking the true meaning of the myths.

    And Theistic Darwinism, Atheism, Secularism or Scientism is the way forward?

  50. 50
    harry says:

    Discussions such as the one on this web page would be much more interesting and beneficial to all involved if the atheists who participated in it had the basic intellectual honesty and genuine commitment to seeking out the truth of, say, an Antony Flew, who was the Dawkins of his day, but unlike Dawkins and the other New Atheists, gave atheism a modicum of respectability due to his sincerity. Flew eventually became a theist due to the compelling nature of arguments such as the ones made so often on this web site.

    Where are the Antony Flews of contemporary atheism? The discoveries of modern science have rendered contemporary atheism irrational. So does promoting belief in it simply require irrationality? Or is it that awareness of its irrationality requires of one an intentional intellectual dishonesty and the use of sophistry to promote belief in it? Or is it simply a matter of contemporary atheism requiring of its adherents pitiful ignorance?

  51. 51
    rvb8 says:

    Kairos,

    is SB unavailable to apologize, and therefore you did the only thing possible and found recourse in ‘apologetics’.

    Come on SB, be a man, say this,

    ” I’m sorry Robert, I misunderstood the Lewis quote, I didn’t know it was from a Christian, and I thought to twist it to my advantage. In the future I will be more careful. Nothing anyone does or says after my misunderstanding can take away my stupidity. I apologize, I should have followed the example of that very decent chap, Origenes!”

    Kairos, less wordyism, more honesty, it’s the Christian way! Or so I’m told.

  52. 52
    kairosfocus says:

    RVB8, just from your opening words, you are now clearly speaking in disregard to truth of the situation and in disrespect to a person I have shown to be quite different from the strawman caricature you have repeatedly set up and attacked. Further to this, that you are doubling down on such demands, indicates that you have not taken seriously the time or effort I took to provide correction, at a time when I can scarce spare such time or effort; indicating that further correction is useless. Then, you compound all of this by accusing me of dishonesty. It is you, sir who have breached reasonable discussion and obviously owe an apology. Good day. KF

  53. 53
    HeKS says:

    rvb8,

    StephenB has been participating over at Wayne Rossiter’s site for the past several days and possibly elsewhere. I don’t know that he has been following this thread at all recently.

  54. 54
    john_a_designer says:

    What we are seeing (@ 49) is typical troll behavior: Find something– anything– to get personally “offended” about and use to derail or disrupt the discussion. Please let’s not enable that kind of behavior. If you see it, call them on it. Trolls are not here because they are reasonable, nor do they want to have an honest open minded discussion.

  55. 55
    kairosfocus says:

    JAD, he has been responded to on the merits at 50, and instead of acknowledging correction or otherwise responding responsibly, he has tried to double down on demonstrably false accusations. And then, such atheist trolls and fellow travellers pretend to ignorance as to why people take seriously analyses back to Plato in The Laws Bk X that point to the moral hazards for the community of evolutionary materialism. Trollish conduct is of course nihilistic behaviour. KF

  56. 56

    JAD

    “I think rvb8 is a classic example of an incorrigible cynic. I don’t see there is any way that you can deal honestly with such a person except keep pointing out his (her?) cynicism. The question is what is behind the cynicism? Is it anger, arrogance or something else?”

    I think it’s likely that most of our interlocutors are engaged in discussion on other anti-ID, or anti-Christian sites, and as such, they score brownie points for merely attempting to refute us. I’ve seen several sites where this occurs. TSZ is one.

  57. 57
    Dr JDD says:

    Cabal @47:
    You trust science? Which version? When science said the earth was flat? (Meanwhile the Bible claimed it was spherical). When science estimated there were about 1000 stars? (Meanwhile the Bible claimed the stars were too numerous to count). When science claimed the universe was eternal; had no beginning? (Meanwhile the Bible said that the universe had a beginning). I could go on.

    But the question remains; what “science” do you place your trust in? Science is ever changing and is self fulfilling. That is the point of God’s Word: never changing and ultimate truth. So you either accept that (and believe the Word of One who was actually there versus someone trying to look in the past and make an educated guess with bias) or you don’t. Ultimately you are exercising faith though either way.

    You would do well to try and understand why Jesus spoke in parables, to certain people only: for the sake of judgement. Jesus did not speak in parables to all and not to those who truly seemed Him and His salvation.

    I fear that at 86 and thinking you have it all figured out, you are in grave danger of false confidence in the flesh with little time left. The Devil is the ultimate gnostic and the father of it. After all, how did he tempt eve but with gnosis (knowing like God).

  58. 58
    Seversky says:

    I would bet my bottom dollar that most atheists active on or reading this site are very moral, good people. In fact, I would bet that rvb8, Pindi and seversky are better (morally speaking) people than I am.

    Nice of you to say so, but as I see it we are all just human beings with the strengths and weaknesses of our kind.

    I would further make a bet that part of the very reason they embrace atheism is because they consider the type of “god” they have had exposure to in church or in their community would be, if it actually existed according to what they’ve been exposed to as far as religious teachings, an absurdly evil being not worthy of belief, much less worship. I would agree with them on this point – the god I perceived being taught to me in Sunday School was a ridiculously bad god and I rightfully rejected that concept of god as such.

    I don’t remember any kind of epiphany, more like a slow drift away from belief in the Christian God as I became more interested in science. It was only later that I became aware with the problems with God as described in the Bible.

    As far as my own personal beliefs are concerned, rvb8, Pindi and seversky are probably just fine wrt their afterlife prospects (and their relationship with god) even given their atheism. In my view, atheism is no barrier to moving on to the afterlife.

    If there is an afterlife it may be very different from that promised by Christian doctrine. The thing is, I would like there to be an afterlife as much as the next person. I doubt there’s anybody who is content with the prospect of complete oblivion. But wanting something doesn’t mean it exists or will ever happen. I want command of my own starship capable of travelling around the galaxy. Do I think that will ever happen, however hard I want it? No, not all.

    To Pindi, seversky and rvb8: that doesn’t mean the choice is between atheistic materialism and an unacceptable, ridiculous, evil, childish notion of god and spiritual existence. However, it is a choice between able to be good in a way that actually means something and actually matters, and only experiencing a sensation of being good whenever some particular chemical interaction dictates it and which ultimately doesn’t matter or change anything one bit.

    “However, it is a choice between able to be good in a way that actually means something and actually matters,…” to whom? That’s always the unspoken part of such a claim. Meaning only exists in the mind of the beholder and something or some one only matters to some one. Believers fell better if they believe that their lives have meaning and matter, which means they need a Creator to whom they matter.

    And here’s the kicker: if atheistic materialism is true, there’s no reason not to believe in a good god worth believing in, and no reason not to believe in a good that really matters and in a free will which can make those choices, because there is no penalty for believing those things even if they are false. After all, in a hypothetical atheistic/materialist world, it’s not like you’re going to score extra points when you die for having happened to believe true things during your life.

    So, basically, you’re opting for Pascal’s Wager and also confirming what Karl Marx wrote:

    Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

    The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.

  59. 59
    harry says:

    Seversky @60,

    Your idea of God is wrong. God is not like your conception of Him from the Old Testament. As I pointed out previously, to understand the Old Testament one must read it in the light of the New Testament.

    God is not like your father. Nor your mother. Nor any other authority figure in your childhood.

    You need to give God a chance to show you Who He is. It’s free. It’s easy. Sincerely and persistently ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Seek Him out in studying the New Testament. Talk to Him. Ask Him, if He is really there and is indeed the God of love the Christians claim that He is, to enlighten you in a way that you will know with certainty it is Him Who is doing so. If He doesn’t exist and therefore doesn’t respond no harm has been done to you and you haven’t lost anything but a little time you could have spent in other pursuits.

    If He does exist, and is primarily and essentially loving goodness, you will have found a treasure of immense proportions. You owe it to yourself to at least check it out.

    Most believers, I think, believe in God not because of logic — even though it couldn’t be more logical to believe in God — but because of their spiritual experience of Him. It is an experience that often cannot be described to others any more than one could describe the experience of the color blue to one totally blind from birth. But it is nonetheless an experience that is a direct contact with Truth and Love itself that has not been filtered though our sensory faculties. You know it when you experience it.

    It is entirely reasonable to make a sincere effort to seek God out, and irrational and inexcusable to refuse to do that.

  60. 60
    kairosfocus says:

    Seversky, I challenge you to define the good without reference to the transcendent good and without falling into one species or another of might and/or manipulation make right, truth, meaning etc, and/or into self undermining of the human mind and freedom to think responsibly and rationally. KF

    PS: As you seem to be focussed on dismissive hostility to the Christian faith, it is suggest that you (or the onlooker) may find here:

    http://nicenesystheol.blogspot.....l#u1_grnds

    with here:

    http://nicenesystheol.blogspot.....u2_bld_wvu

    and here:

    http://nicenesystheol.blogspot.....l#u9_intro

    useful reading.

Leave a Reply